The United States Bishops will be holding their semi-annual meeting on June 12-14 at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Hotel and Resort in Orlando Florida.
Now don't get me wrong, I don't think the bishops should be staying at the Motel 6 for their meetings, but these 4 and 5 star hotels seem to be a bit...well, extravagant--especially since they keep telling us that we must all make sacrifices to help pay off over $1.5 billion in settlements of sex abuse cases--many of which stem from disordered men who never should have been ordained in the first place or who were moved from parish to parish--oops--I forgot--we're not supposed to focus on the negative here.
The other troubling question is why Orlando? June 12-14 is in the middle of tourist season, which means rates are gouged up higher anyway, but Orlando? Orlando is the kingdom of kiddie parks and outlandish entertainments. Do our bishops really need all that distraction? Why couldn't they have their meeting in someplace less gaudy, like, say, Cleveland or Buffalo?
Anyway, Nancy Frazier O'Brien at the Catholic News Service reports that the dominant issues the bishops are tackling this June will be liturgy and language, as well as embryonic stem-cell research, medically assisted nutrition and hydration as well as the topic that will not go away, clergy sex abuse.
Let's examine each issue individually:
• The USCCB Committe on Divine Worship will present the final phase in translations and approval of the Roman Missal for the United States, including proper prayers for Sundays and feast days.
I suppose that's good, given the horrid translations we have lived with for the last couple of decades. However, I see no mention of unifying to support the pope's motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum, which has had accurate translations side by side with the Latin since 1962. I guess we can expect them to pretend it just never happened.
• The bishops will vote for the change from "vosotros" (meaning "all of you"--or "y'all" for southerners) to the slightly less formal "ustedes" for Spanish language Masses ("Vosotros" has dropped out of use in most Spanish speaking countries except Spain).
This would not even be an issue if they obeyed Summorum Pontificum. But hey, what does the Pope know?
• O'Brien reports: After the liturgical readings, the longest text to come before the bishops in June is a seven-page policy statement from the Committee on Pro-Life Activities on embryonic stem-cell research. The document is aimed at providing "background for the more pastoral educational resource on why Catholic couples should not resort to some reproductive technologies," said Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia, committee chairman, in an introduction to the draft text.
Humane Vitae was published (and ignored by many bishops) in 1968. It's 40 years later. How many times do we have to re-invent the wheel?
Do we really need another committee to teach us something as basic as natural law?
• O'Brien also reports: The same group will be asked to accept a request from the Committee on Doctrine to begin revising passages in the "Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services" that relate to medically assisted nutrition and hydration. The directives guide Catholic health care facilities in addressing a wide range of ethical questions.
The proposed revisions would be drawn up in consultation with the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities and would go back to the bishops for a vote before being finalized.
Ditto my last comments.
* The bishops will also will watch a 45-minute presentation by researchers from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York on their study of the causes and context of clergy sex abuse in this country. The study is set for completion in 2009.
The bishops will consider a recommended structure for dialogue between priests and bishops about how the church has handled sex abuse allegations against clergy and how the "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People," adopted by the bishops in Dallas in June 2002, has been implemented.
"Structure for dialogue?" You have got to be kidding!
Can anyone name any profession in which management-level employees can sexually abuse people and keep their jobs? Or where the executives in charge of those managers get a pass and keep their jobs too?
Once again, I could have saved our bishops thousands of dollars from consulting with the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. It's this simple: STOP ORDAINING HOMOSEXUALS.
And, once again, here are the statistics from the FIRST John Jay Report ( I guess they didn't like the first report, so they commissioned another). It's pretty clear: 84% of the sex abuse victims were males between the age of 10 and 17. That is not pedophilia. That's homosexuality.